SAGINAW (AP) – A Michigan police officer charged with murder in the strangulation death of a pregnant woman whose body was found near his department’s gun range was on duty at the time of the killing, a prosecutor said Tuesday.
Kenneth Bluew, 36, of Saginaw Township, was arraigned by video on charges in the death of Jennifer Webb and was ordered held without bond. He’s charged with first-degree murder, felony firearm possession and a charge related to the death of the unborn child.
Details of any relationship between Bluew and Webb, 32, weren’t immediately clear. Thomas declined to confirm whether Bluew was the father of Webb’s child, saying it was “not germane” to the charges he faces.
Bluew was working as an officer when Webb, who was eight months pregnant, was killed, Saginaw County Prosecutor Michael Thomas said. He said charges were authorized late Monday after Michigan State Police investigators got the results of DNA-related tests.
He “was armed, being a police officer on duty,” Thomas said.
Bluew told the court he understood the nature of charges against him and planned to hire a lawyer. Not guilty pleas were entered. He’s due back in court Sept. 22 for a preliminary hearing.
If convicted of the murder charge, he faces a mandatory term of life in prison without parole.
Buena Vista Township police said an officer found the body of Webb, who lived in Bridgeport Township, on Aug. 30 near the department’s gun range near Saginaw.
Webb’s father Donald Webb said his family was letting prosecutors handle the case and didn’t want to discuss details.
“I won’t say anything that might jeopardize the case,” he said.
Bluew has been suspended from his post as an officer. He spent seven years on the Buena Vista police force before Tittabawassee Township hired him as police chief in October 2006, according to archive stories published by The Saginaw News.
Bluew worked in Tittabawassee Township for 15 months until he resigned in January 2008 to return to Buena Vista Township.
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